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A <NavLink> is a special kind of <Link> that knows whether or not it is "active", "pending", or "transitioning". This is useful in a few different scenarios:

  • When building a navigation menu, such as a breadcrumb or a set of tabs where you'd like to show which of them is currently selected
  • It provides useful context for assistive technology like screen readers
  • It provides a "transitioning" value to give you finer-grained control over View Transitions
import { NavLink } from "react-router-dom";

  className={({ isActive, isPending }) =>
    isPending ? "pending" : isActive ? "active" : ""

Default active class

By default, an active class is added to a <NavLink> component when it is active so you can use CSS to style it.

<nav id="sidebar">
  <NavLink to="/messages" />
#sidebar {
  color: red;


The className prop works like a normal className, but you can also pass it a function to customize the classNames applied based on the active and pending state of the link.

  className={({ isActive, isPending, isTransitioning }) =>
      isPending ? "pending" : "",
      isActive ? "active" : "",
      isTransitioning ? "transitioning" : "",
    ].join(" ")


The style prop works like a normal style prop, but you can also pass it a function to customize the styles applied based on the active and pending state of the link.

  style={({ isActive, isPending, isTransitioning }) => {
    return {
      fontWeight: isActive ? "bold" : "",
      color: isPending ? "red" : "black",
      viewTransitionName: isTransitioning ? "slide" : "",


You can pass a render prop as children to customize the content of the <NavLink> based on the active and pending state, which is useful to change styles on internal elements.

<NavLink to="/tasks">
  {({ isActive, isPending, isTransitioning }) => (
    <span className={isActive ? "active" : ""}>Tasks</span>


The end prop changes the matching logic for the active and pending states to only match to the "end" of the NavLink's to path. If the URL is longer than to, it will no longer be considered active.

Link Current URL isActive
<NavLink to="/tasks" /> /tasks true
<NavLink to="/tasks" /> /tasks/123 true
<NavLink to="/tasks" end /> /tasks true
<NavLink to="/tasks" end /> /tasks/123 false
<NavLink to="/tasks/" end /> /tasks false
<NavLink to="/tasks/" end /> /tasks/ true

A note on links to the root route

<NavLink to="/"> is an exceptional case because every URL matches /. To avoid this matching every single route by default, it effectively ignores the end prop and only matches when you're at the root route.


Adding the caseSensitive prop changes the matching logic to make it case sensitive.

Link URL isActive
<NavLink to="/SpOnGe-bOB" /> /sponge-bob true
<NavLink to="/SpOnGe-bOB" caseSensitive /> /sponge-bob false


When a NavLink is active it will automatically apply <a aria-current="page"> to the underlying anchor tag. See aria-current on MDN.


The reloadDocument property can be used to skip client side routing and let the browser handle the transition normally (as if it were an <a href>).


The unstable_viewTransition prop enables a View Transition for this navigation by wrapping the final state update in document.startViewTransition(). By default, during the transition a transitioning class will be added to the <a> element that you can use to customize the view transition.

a.transitioning p {
  view-transition-name: "image-title";

a.transitioning img {
  view-transition-name: "image-expand";
<NavLink to={to} unstable_viewTransition>
  <p>Image Number {idx}</p>
  <img src={src} alt={`Img ${idx}`} />

You may also use the className/style props or the render props passed to children to further customize based on the isTransitioning value.

<NavLink to={to} unstable_viewTransition>
  {({ isTransitioning }) => (
          viewTransitionName: isTransitioning
            ? "image-title"
            : "",
        Image Number {idx}
        alt={`Img ${idx}`}
          viewTransitionName: isTransitioning
            ? "image-expand"
            : "",
Please note that this API is marked unstable and may be subject to breaking changes without a major release.
Docs and examples CC 4.0